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Farah Khan and Ashley Lobo mentor dancers in a virtual panel discussion

In the aftermath of a three-day Choreography Camp organised by Ashley Lobo's institute The Danceworx, the Indian-Australian choreographer engaged in a discussion with renowned film and stage personality Farah Khan on how to build a professional dance career within the evolving dance scenario in India and overseas. Given the kind of restrictions imposed by the global pandemic on movement and interactive learning, this session saw over 200 students actively engage with two of the country's most popular dance names who boast of experiences ranging from the traditional Bollywood jigs to the contemporary spins and glides. 
 
Talking about the session, Ashley Lobo said, "The main objective of this session was to expand the understanding of commercial dance in India and to create an environment for dancers to approach commercial dance as a career. We wanted to create awareness about what is possible still and equip dancers with the correct information about what it takes to build a professional dance career today. There could be no one better than Farah to interact with the students about these important topics."  

Farah Khan, who is well-known for her work not only as a versatile choreographer but also as a director, producer, and actress, highlighted during the discussion how dance happened to her. "Dance was a very good way for me to forget my troubles at home and the circumstances that we were living in. For me, there was a joy that I would get. Dance actually saved my life at that point," she said. Ashley couldn't agree more. "I think this is very common. It is said that you never choose dance, dance chooses you. It's always an accident," he added.
 
With the gross uncertainty that performing artists are faced with the current Covid-era, the two dance maestros only had real and helpful things to say to an enthusiastic bunch of dancers. "Today is a great time for people who are trained in dance and who can choreograph because there is so much work. It's not only about doing work in films. There is so much work on television, thousands of reality shows. Today there is a different industry where you can do corporate shows. If you do a film song that does well, it becomes your legacy. But if you want to make money and you want a career, there are so many options now, none of which were available to us when we started work," Farah said. 
 
The session explored various problems that plague the large generation of dancers, which were met with helpful tips from both Farah and Ashely — how does a dancer become an assistant choreographers, being flexible in the dance industry, staying true to one's passion and art, being trained in more than one dance styles, how its never too late to find your calling and be a dancer, and dealing with the important reality of failure and rejection in the real world and never giving up. 
 
Ashley summed up the crux of the session aptly, painting a very practical picture for the 200+ youngsters looking up to them. "There are various areas you can get into dance because it is a very big word. There is lots of stuff you can do and you will find your place. You just gotta figure out what your place is and where you want to take it. I think you just need express yourself and have fun with it. You're having the most fun with what you're seeing, doing and creating. And I think you discover yourself in the process. You're constantly trying to reinvent yourself each time you're given something and that becomes new and fresh to you. That excitement translates into the work that is being done," he said.

This enriching session culminated a Camp including a roster of international artistes like Brian Friedman, Exon Arcos, Gabe De Guzman, Jake Kodish, Krista and Autumn Miller in a three-day extravaganza to create opportunities for enthusiasts to learn international styles from the best in the business. Ashley Lobo's company has constantly strived to make even lesser-known dance forms easily accessible to all and to equip aspiring dancers with requisite skill sets so that they can build flourishing careers while pursuing their passion. This Choreo Camp was another lunge in that direction.
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